News from the UGA School of Social Work
Sepetember 2017

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August 2017

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Left to right: New and returning field education team members Devon Sanger, Zoe Johnson, Angela Lawson, Vivien Burrell, Tom Artelt and Diane Harvey.

Welcome to the new academic year!

It is clearly that time of year—there’s a buzz in the air, the lines are long at Starbucks, traffic on Baldwin Street is slow, and our building is filled with energetic students eager to begin a new year of learning. Welcome to academic year 2017-2018!

This is a year filled with lots of “new”—we have a new MSW curriculum, new faculty, new students, and new initiatives. Here’s a quick run-through:

This year also promises to be full of exciting activities and events. We’ve already begun hosting events, holding an open forum for students to discuss the recent tragic shootings across the country both on our Gwinnett campus and in Athens. We will also be having more relaxed social events like the recent “Shaved Ice Shindig” that we held August 24th and 25th. Later in the fall we will be sending nearly 20 faculty members and students to present their research at the annual program meeting of the Council on Social Work Education in Atlanta. Throughout the year we’ll have speakers and gatherings—stay tuned for more information as the year progresses.

In order to better meet the needs of our students, to address more fully topics of social justice, and to incorporate more evidence-informed intervention, we are launching a new MSW curriculum this fall. The curriculum now offers three concentrations—micro, macro, and integrated practice. It also includes two new courses: "Addressing the Bases of Power, Oppression, Social Justice, Evidence-Informed Practice, Advocacy and Diversity" (affectionately known as the PrOSEAD course) in the first semester, and a capstone course in the final semester of study. You can see our new program of study here

We are very excited about the new faculty who joined us this fall. Please join me in welcoming them!

  • Zoe Johnson is our new director of Field Education
  • Constance Wooden-Smith is the new Gwinnett campus coordinator
  • Tom Artelt is the new BSW field coordinator
  • Devon Sanger is the new Athens MSW field coordinator
  • Vivian Burrell is the new Gwinnett MSW field coordinator
  • Kate Morrissey Stahl is a new clinical assistant professor
  • Jenay Beeris a new assistant professor at the Institute for Gerontology within the College of Public Health, with a 30% appointment in the School of Social Work.

One of the great joys in any academic year is meeting the new students who join the school. They are smart, enthusiastic, hardworking, and destined for great things. This year we welcomed 89 new MSW Full Time students, 39 new Advanced Standing students, 49 MSW students in our Gwinnett program, seven new Masters in Nonprofit Management and Leadership students, and three new doctoral students. As a welcome to our students and an opportunity to mingle informally, we had a Shaved Ice Shindig in the courtyard last week.

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We are fired up about UGA’s new initiative, The UGA Double Dawgs Program. This ambitions program gives our students a competitive advantage after graduation while helping lower the overall cost of a college education by creating structured pathways for qualified students to earn an undergraduate and graduate degree within a five-year time frame. The School of Social Work has partnered with the undergraduate Theater, Music, Psychology, and Latin American and Caribbean Studies majors to create Double Dawg programs with our Master's in Nonprofit Management and Leadership (MANML), and we’ve also created an internal BSW/MANML Double Dawg program.

This academic year is filled with many new things, but we also have to acknowledge that it is a year of farewells. A number of faculty and staff retired and won’t be returning this year, so we say a grateful farewell to Dr. Maurice Daniels, Dr. Sandy Murphy, Ms. Jackie Ellis, Ms. Carol Taylor, Mr. Jeff Skinner, and Ms. Cindy Roberts. We also said goodbye to Dr. Trina Salm-Ward, who returned to Wisconsin and is now a faculty member at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. We are grateful for all their significant contributions and will miss them as part of the school community.

While this is an exciting time here at the school, it would be disingenuous not to acknowledge that this is also a difficult time in the world with much vitriol and violence. The world needs social workers now more than ever. Growing our skills in advocacy, in nonviolent communication, in intergroup dialogue, in anti-oppressive and anti-racist practice, and in policy practice are essential if we are to fulfill our mission of promoting well-being and social justice. As a school, we are committed to providing students with these skills through their classes and internships and through the implicit curriculum of the school’s milieu.

As we work to fulfill our mission, I would ask for the support of each of you, through your time, your funds, and your advocacy for the school. Let’s all work together to fulfill the mission of social work.

So, as we start this new academic year, I hope you’ll join us in our work. Come visit us, see what we’re doing, attend an event, or just stop by and say hello. This is an inspiring place and I hope you’ll continue to be a part of it.

Warmest regards, newsletter



Is time often wasted when everyone involved in a project shares his or her own ideas? Should a method that has worked in the past be reviewed and changed on regular basis? Kristina Jaskyte, a faculty member of the School of Social Work and the Institute for Nonprofit Organizations, wants to gain a better understanding of employees’ attitudes toward creativity. You can help by taking this ten-minute, online survey! This study includes nonprofit professionals and social workers and has an international component. Dr. Jaskyte’s colleagues in Lithuania are conducting the same study and hope to have sufficient data to do some comparative work. The findings will help researchers improve the design and implementation of interventions geared toward increasing creativity.
There are no known risks or discomforts associated with this research (although you may experience an increased feeling of well-being for helping out)!


On Monday, Sept. 25, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm, view a screening of the 45-minute documentary "Released" followed by a panel discussion. The film is a powerful examination of how of individuals formerly involved in the criminal justice system continue to pay for the mistakes of their past while trying to reintegrate into society. It recently premiered in Atlanta as part of Gov. Nathan Deal's push for criminal justice reform. This event is sponsored by the Center for Social Justice, Human and Civil Rights and the Davenport-Benham chapter of the Black Law Students Association. It will be held at the UGA Special Collections Library, 300 South Hull Street, Room 271, Athens, Georgia

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If you have alumni news you'd like to share, please contact Jennifer Abbott, alumni director, at

University of Georgia
School of Social Work
279 Williams Street
Athens, GA 30602

(706) 542-3364

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